Friday, February 29, 2008

back to school #3

Confession #1 - our district and most suburban schools in our county were on "mid-winter recess" - a week of vacation - during the week of February 18. It gave my family a breather after my father-in-law's funeral on the 16th. During vacation, I made a lot of greetings cards - 20 birthday party invitations for my daughter's 7th birthday party next Saturday, about 20 thank-you cards of various shapes and sizes for family and friends. Art therapy.

Confession #2 - instead of blogging (i.e. writing as well as reading and commenting), I indulged in internet a) shopping, mostly browsing, but some buying, and b) Facebook.  Internet therapy.

Confession #3 - going back to school after a week of vacation was a welcome distraction from family life. All week, I dreaded grading projects that were done in my absence the week before vacation (I was out 2 days for scoring state exam papers, and then 2 and a half days of bereavement leave), but I used SSR (silent sustained reading) time today to sift through papers and chase down delinquents, and I managed to grade most of the projects! (I know we're supposed to model reading, and I often do, but today wasn't the day!) I will take pictures of student-made dioramas (the good ones) and post here soon.  We started our myths, fables, and  folktales unit this past week, AND I brainstormed a good topic for upcoming research project.  Work therapy.

Many thanks again and again to faithful fellow bloggers who offered kind words and thoughts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

clear skies

Winter sunshine and blue skies just clear the soul. We saw such clear skies last Friday and Saturday, during my father-in-law's wake and funeral. These were the views from his grave site Saturday.

Many thanks for the kind words and thoughts of fellow bloggers. I have not blogged much at all in recent weeks, so I'm especially grateful for your visits and comments.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


First, happy news - today was my long-ago scheduled day to help out at my daughter's first grade class Valentine's Day party. I was in charge of games. Here is the "stack'em up" game. This impressive winning tower was stacked by my daughter's class BFF, a right-handed girl who broke her finger and created this tower of 12 conversation hearts with her left hand, to which all the boys in the group said, "WOW! With a broken hand!!!" Valentine's Day at an elementary school is so much more festive and zany than at my middle school. (See the girl in background who's trying to create a base for her tower? At least 2 other kids tried this approach. Good idea; just didn't work in reality. Hearts not stable or level enough.)

Then, sad news - my father-in-law passed away 2 days ago after struggling the past 3 months against cancer and assorted complications.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


means "Girls Night Out", as I learned and explained to my Hannah-Montana-wannabe 6 year old girl at the HM 3D movie concert a week ago that included performance of this GNO song.

This was my GNO yesterday with friend Sandra. Dinner at Toro Tapas Bar was scrumptious as usual; note the yummy "chocolate sushi" that Sandra identified as truffle.

We scooted into Studio Arena Theatre in downtown Buffalo just minutes before the play "To Kill a Mockingbird" began. The stage set was lovely, especially the Spanish moss. (Sorry about poor pic quality. Blame camera phone.) The show was terrific, and I loved the children's performances! I'm always impressed by young stage actors - their poise, memory, and (according to Sandra who grew up in Mississippi) really good accents.

As the audience walked toward the exit after the show, one man announced in a resigned voice, "Now I have to read the book," to which I replied, "NAH."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

scoring, and happy new year

Tuesday and Wednesday I sat with 11 teachers in the basement conference room of our building to score the NYS ELA grade 7 assessment. Technically, I was trainer and table facilitator, not scorer, so these (in picture) were my working tools. Next Monday and Tuesday I will reprise these roles for the ELA grade 8 assessment.

Believe it or not, I enjoyed my time with colleagues in that conference room. We worked with diligence, but we also cracked jokes and laughed a lot. (OK, I also giggled a lot and felt super goofy.) The lack of sunshine in the past week had dampened my spirits, and laughing loosened the endorphins in a mighty way.

Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year, everyone! Health and prosperity to you and your family...

Saturday, February 2, 2008


We're starstruck by 3D! Our friend T's 7th birthday festivities included showing up 8am today and waiting 15 minutes in 32 degree, windy weather outside the movie theater before we could rush inside and stake out our seats for the 8:45 show.

After settling ourselves (4 girls ages 6, 7, and 8, plus 2 moms) in our seats with popcorn, Twizzlers, Skittles, soda, coffee, we enjoyed the previews, including a tantalizing bit of "U2 3D" (I can't wait), new Narnia movie "Prince Caspian" (breathtaking), and "College Road Trip" (hysterical).

The Hannah Montana concert movie (no, I refuse to learn the correct title) was ... cute, just like Miley Cyrus is CUTE. Best parts: her outfits, 3D effects (drummer's stick being tossed up straight up in the air for an overhead shot, guitar pick thrown out toward audience), seeing how large the stage is and how much running and jumping are involved in a concert performance.